Tourism sector bands together as fires damage 24 establishments
The Western Cape’s tourism sector has pulled together in an effort to accommodate displaced travellers affected by this week's fires in the Garden Route.
A total of 24 tourism establishments were damaged, the majority of which are in the tourist town of Knysna.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, today (6 June 2017) provided feedback on the impact of the fires on the province’s tourism sector.
“Knysna Tourism visited all affected accommodation establishments, and found that 24 had either been partially or completely destroyed. The Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa) has been fully briefed on the damage. The JAMMS is assisting to coordinate response plans.”
The affected properties include:
- Phantom Forest Lodge
- Bradach Manor
- The Big Tree House Lodge
- Bridgewater Manor
- Four on Faure
- Coral Tree Cottages
- Knysna Hollow
- Cliff Lodge in Plettenberg Bay
Tourists who have been displaced are being accommodated in larger hotels and in surrounding towns.
“South African Tourism is also working with Satsa to find alternative accommodation for tourists who have booked and will be arriving soon. FEDHASA’s Cape Town members has also offered assistance in accommodating tourists.”
Minister Winde said an Operations Centre had been set up at the Pelican Lodge in Sedgefield to assist tourists.
“The Ops Centre is assisting with medical emergencies, passports and repatriation. Trauma counselling is also being provided.
“Our Tourism Safety and Support Unit, within the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, is also assisting international tourists.”
Minister Winde commended the tourism sector for rallying together during the disaster.
“The tourism sector is also providing accommodation for emergency personnel who are travelling to the Southern Cape from across the country. I would like to commend Knysna Tourism, the private sector and all parties for their swift response, and the role they are playing in assisting tourists and distributing aid. We will soon be able to start rebuilding the region’s tourism sector.”
Jeff Rosenberg, Chairperson of FEDHASA Cape, said: “FEDHASA Cape, together with our JAMMS partners, are assisting our industry colleagues in the Knysna area by offering stranded tourists accommodation from our member establishments in Cape Town and surrounding areas. We also assist with communicating relevant emergency contact details.”
Tim Harris, Wesgro CEO, said: “As Wesgro we would like to extend our deepest sympathies to those affected by the Knysna fire. We would also like to thank the support services and neighbouring communities within the Garden Route and Klein Karoo for their tireless aid and generous accommodation. Wesgro is investigating ways in which we can be of assistance to Knysna, in terms of our mandate, especially in ensuring tourists continue to visit the district. We encourage all tourists who have unfortunately been displaced by the fire to consider completing their stay in one of the region's scenic surrounding communities. This will help benefit the local economy during this difficult time.”
Please see the following numbers:
- Ilze Jacobs, Tourism Safety and Support Unit: 082 972 2507
- Ops Centre at Pelican Lodge: 044 343 3283
- Sedgefield Tourism: 044 343 2007
For regular updates, visit https://www.facebook.com/KnysnaFires2017/
Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Responsible for Tourism, Economic Development and Agriculture
Western Cape Government
Physical Address: 142 Long Street, Cape Town
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 060 970 4301